J’ai connu une belle époque is a journey through cinema. The good times of cinema, says Jacques Deray at the beginning of his book. “A time of the stars. A time when dreaming was not forbidden. A time when two generations were exalted, even clashed, for the sole love of the 7th Art. What memories, which remain or disappear with time. What encounters, what emotions… I am not a man of the past. I have a hard time talking about it. Today, however, I wonder about this profession to which I have given everything.”
The way Jacques Deray talks about his films is with the freedom that filmmaking should really be about and with the passion of a filmmaker who made the movies he wanted to make, driven by choices “dictated by my desires, my loyalty, my moods”. He elegantly and seamlessly takes us back to those good times and to his film sets and to the stories and friendships behind those films, never the man to seek out the spotlight, always seeking out to allow each story, each character to live to the full. In filmmaking, Jacques Deray found his place in the world. “By recounting his work, film after film, Jacques Deray launches here in search of himself,” Jean-Claude Carriére wrote. “With the modesty, but also the sharpness and rigor that are specific to him. I have known him for a long time: he is a man of style. I find in his sentence the elegance and efficiency of his camera movements.”
Read instead… in print is about a good book about cinema or filmmakers. No discursive, pretentious analyses, no verbose scrutiny. Because the idea is to invite you to read the book, not read about it here. But instead of using social media, I use my journal. Back to basics. Take it as a wish to break free of over-reliance on social media (even if it’s just for posting a photo of a good book) for presenting my work, cultural finds and interests. These are things to be enjoyed as stand-alone pieces in a more substantial and meaningful way than showing them in the black hole of Instagram thronged with an audience with a short attention span. This is also a look through my voluminous collection of books about film that I use as research in my adamant decision to rely less and less on the online and more on more on print materials.
Read instead…in print #20:
Satyajit Ray Miscellany: On Life, Cinema, People and Much More
Art directing film posters: In conversation with illustrator Akiko Stehrenberger
Read instead…in print #9: Bertrand Tavernier: Amis Américains